Today’s Deep Space Extra

October 9th, 2020

Deep Space Extra will not be published on Monday, October 12 in observance of Columbus Day. We will return on Tuesday, October 13.


In Today’s Deep Space Extra… New studies suggest organic material will likely be present in sample collected from Bennu by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission on October 20. Space Force considers merging assets of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station with those of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.


Space Science

Asteroid Bennu was once part of a space rock with flowing water
New Scientist (10/8): Research published Thursday affirms the presence of carbon-materials and organics on asteroid Bennu, and the likelihood that the asteroid is a rocky planetary body assembled from pieces of a larger object on which water flowed. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will touchdown briefly on October 20 to gather samples of pebbles and soil for return to Earth. Scientists expect the samples to help explain the role asteroids played in distributing water and organics, the building blocks of life, during planet formation.
Planets don’t wait for their star to form first
Universe Today (10/8): New research questions an assumption that star formation leads the way to the creation of planetary systems. The German-led effort published in the journal Nature spotted planets forming in a star system no more than 500,000 years old, challenging the assumption that host stars are well into adulthood before planets form from materials left over from star formation. 

Astronomers will be able to use the world’s biggest radio telescope to search for signals from extraterrestrial civilizations (10/8): Previously used only by Chinese astronomers, China’s five- hundred-meter Aperture radio Telescope (FAST) will now be open to non-Chinese observation proposals, including from SETI and the Breakthrough Listen Initiative focused on seeking evidence for extraterrestrial intelligence. The neighboring Andromeda Galaxy, with more than an estimated one trillion stars, could be first for study. FAST is the world’s largest ground-based observatory of its kind and was commissioned in January 2020.


Other News

Space Force considers merging Cape Canaveral with Kennedy Space Center
Coalition Member in News – United Launch Alliance
Ars Technica (10/8): The U.S. Space Force is looking at a possible merger of space launch assets at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station with NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC), both on Florida’s space coast, to possibly improve the coordination of time sensitive national security and other missions.

Momentus deal could mark new wave of space companies going public (10/8): A need for large amounts of capital may be an incentive for space startups to consider and carry out mergers. A merger between Momentus with the venture fund Stable Road Capital earlier this week sparked the discussion. The acquisition could become final by early 2021.

‘The Right Stuff’ lifts off on Disney+, takes flight from book, film (10/9): Disney is back with a new take on the “Right Stuff,” the 1979 book by Tom Wolf chronicling the lives of NASA’s Mercury 7 astronauts and the 1983 film version. The Disney+ streaming version, which digs deeper into the lives of the nation’s space pioneers, premieres Friday, October 9.

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